Monday, 22 April 2013

Triumph Purchase Options

A simple enough promotion: 3 great offers on the table and the customer picks their preferred option.

We planned to promote the offer on as many different platforms as possible...

  • Website banner & news story
  • Facebook cover photo
  • Email 
  • In-store posters
  • Bike labels
  • MCN (Motorcycle News) advert the look had to be easily recognizable to reinforce the message. I needed something that I could repeat on all these platforms and was adaptable to fit the different shapes and sizes of each. This is where the Union Jack came into play.

The Union Jack:

As Britain's leading motorcycle brand, Triumph often use the Union Jack and other icons of British culture to promote the brand in a patriotic way.

Flags are something you see a lot of in the marketing of companies and their products. Just the other day my brother was telling me that the most popular custom paint scheme on a Harley-Davidson is the Captain America / Stars & Stripes theme. It is one of the best ways to fuel a brand or product identity by tapping into people's preconceived notions about a particular culture. Italian brands probably utilize this more than any other by reinforcing the idea that Italian products are naturally classy and of a high quality. Look no further than the the AGV logo, or Ducati's Panigale Tricolore, for examples of this in motorcycling.

So, Triumph=Britain. However, it sadly isn't as simple as just plonking the first result of a google image search onto a poster to convey this. Otherwise you'll look no better than a slightly questionable ebay seller that feels the need to tell you how fast his UK delivery service is on every product picture.

For the design of my Union Jack, it was important for me not to be restricted by where I could place it on posters/adverts/banners etc. Therefore, I would need to adapt it so it didn't have such rigid outer borders (a.k.a. so it wasn't a rectangle). To achieve this, I looked to create a paint splat / stamp / destroyed / torn version of the flag so that it would merge nicely with any other images. One of the main sources of inspiration for this was the Silverstone logo.

Web Banner:

MCN Advert:


A whole A1 poster for each choice, now that's a little extravagant!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Maidstone Harley-Davidson 1000 Likes

One of the shops I work for, Maidstone Harley Davidson, recently hit a milestone on their Facebook page. The page has now exceeded 1000 likes and they wanted a little design to herald such a momentous occasion.

At first I only had one circular ring and the text, and as you can imagine it looked a little boring and empty. The Facebook thumbs up came next as it clearly ties in with the reason behind the design; I took a vector image I had of the "like" icon and constructed a silhouette out of it before overlaying the grunge effect. The Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo outline you see at the bottom was done in much the same way, as were the three stars.

Without blowing my own trumpet, I like how it turned out. The black & white destroyed/concrete effect is uncomplicated but interesting and bold enough to catch your eye.

Font: Clarendon (Harley-Davidson corporate font)

A lot of pages, even those for larger companies, don't tend to take much care when uploading photos to their walls. Facebook pages have a set size for cropping photos and when one is uploaded that doesn't match these dimensions, it ends up looking messy. Paying just a little bit of attention can really make the difference. This is why I produce graphics that fit the space perfectly, it helps to tidy things up and gives the page a much more professional look.

By the way, the dimensions are: 403px x 403px for anyone who's interested.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Muc-Off Web Banner and Shop Artwork

Muc-Off certainly have one of the most distinct brand images in the motorcycle trade and it's pretty much down to one thing: pink. I'm sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that pink isn't exactly embraced by the  motorcycling world. Without being too judgmental or sweeping, biking is predominantly a masculine recreation, and human convention dictates that pink is a visual indicator for the exact opposite of this. The only time you'll really see pink used is on ladies branding/clothing and even this is often met with a fair amount  of resistance from female riders as they understandably don't like to be stereotyped in this way.

Most parts departments (including our own) in bike dealerships are a real Aladdin's cave of hundreds of different products. It is only the strongest and boldest brands that are able to stand out from the competition. Muc-Off have proven that this reluctance to use pink has been a real oversight.

As Muc-Off are cleaning and protection products, it makes sense that bubbles have been used as the main design point on artwork for the brand. This, coupled with the pink colours mentioned above is all that really went into making the banner you see here. I then replicated this for use as a footer on other marketing material for Muc-Off in store.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Maidstone Honda Website Design

In just a matter of weeks, Maidstone will be graced with the presence of a brand new Honda motorcycle dealership just outside the town, next door to the Maidstone Harley-Davidson shop.

The dealership will be focused exclusively on the Honda brand and therefore it will have a dedicated website, facebook page, twitter profile etc.

I was asked to come up with a preliminary design for the website that the developers could use to start building it. It was made entirely in illustrator which means that all the components you see in the image below are vector images and won't lose resolution.

I also made a design that showed how the page should interact when each part was hovered over and clicked; including embossed buttons, colour changes and transparency effects.

To fill the gap before the website goes live, it was decided that we needed a single "Coming Soon" page that linked users to social networks and the forthcoming newsletter. As word gets out that there will be a new Honda dealership in Maidstone, it is important that people can connect with us ahead of the opening date so we have a good amount of leads and get the ball rolling as soon as the doors open.

It was important to keep it simple so people are aware that a bigger and better site is under construction, but interesting enough that they don't navigate away and forget all about it.
I thought it would be a nice touch to have a gallery of the shop build to document the progress and keep people up to date.

Facebook Profile Picture & Cover Photo

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Kawasaki Web Banners

Two examples of banners on the homepage of the Kawasaki site. All the others have followed the same pattern to maintain some consistency and save me a bit of time when new ones need to be made.

Two static call to action images on the left hand side of the page:

Monday, 8 April 2013

KTM Duke 125/200 Powerparts

A few weeks ago, the 2013 KTM Powerparts catalogue was left on my desk with a post-it note with the simple message of "FYI" on it. Despite the relatively vague instruction, I guessed that I had been tasked with populating our webshop with items from the catalogue and producing some marketing material for them. It's what I usually end up doing so it was a fair enough assumption.

The catalogue is divided by bike model and the first one was the Duke 125/200 because it is the lowest spec bike that KTM manufacture. Nonetheless, it still has over 60 genuine accessories attributed to it, so I had a fair bit of work creating stock files before I could even begin with the web banner below.

As you can see, KTM like orange...a lot.

I wanted to relay just how much choice there was for one bike, so fitted in almost every item available onto the banner. It took the best tetris based skills I could muster to make them fit in a relatively uniform way.

When that was all done, I played around with how I could put the text onto such a busy background and settled with a nice translucent strip and then a couple of wonky square outlines ...because KTMs are edgy.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Autoglym Offer

So I was looking through some artwork of mine from last year (pretty much to see if I could reuse old material on similar events this year) and came across this promotion from Autoglym that finished just a few weeks ago. It has definitely been one of my favourite posters on the parts & accessories counter over the past few months and thought it deserved a bit of attention on here.

As far as packaging and branding goes, Autoglym have it spot on in my opinion. They are primarily concerned with cleaning products so their appearance has to suggest that to customers. The simplicity of the grey text on plain white background immediately achieves this, but another thing I was interested in was the font they had started using. As soon as I saw it I got a feeling of reassurance and quality, much like the branding from the likes of Waitrose and John Lewis.

The offer was a free item, of which customers had a choice of two, upon purchase of the main polish. Therefore I thought it would be best to give it the feel of a flow chart and make the process as logical as possible.

I wanted to replicate the simplicity of the Autoglym branding as much as possible and started off with a white background but that didn't work at all well with the two bottles being white. So then flipping the two colours (grey and white) seemed the best way to go. When I had done that it still looked a little too plain so I added in the the circles around the three products and made the arrows a bit more prominent. The finishing touch was to put a bit of a gradient on the background and add some little diagonal lines. Voila.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Birthday Bash!

Last Saturday (3rd November) was the 1st anniversary of the opening of Maidstone Harley-Davidson in Kent, UK Website. To celebrate the occasion, the dealership decided to hold a "Birthday Bash" at the store. There were some specially customised bikes in the showroom , a live band, a hog roast in the car park, as well as some mini fair-type games to keep everyone entertained throughout the day.

To advertise the event, it was decided that a unique logo would have the biggest impact and provide somewhat of an identity for the anniversary. The campaign included a mixture of web and print advertising, including an editorial and advert in Motorcycle News.

The design worked an absolute treat as around 100,000 people (approximately) braved the cold, wind and rain just to see my posters up close ...and probably to look at some motorbikes and that as well.

Primary Font: Clarendon
Secondary Font: Helvetica

To begin with, the logo was much more plain than the one you see above. Basically everything you see in orange wasn't added until later. As it was so close to bonfire night, one of my colleagues recommended incorporating fireworks into the design as it would all tie together with the theme of celebration, as well as the time of year. It was certainly a good addition and gave the logo a bit more punch and colour.

Creating this logo was admittedly a bit of a learning curve as it was the first design I had created completely in Illustrator. I have been daunted by the prospect of having to learn how to use Illustrator for some time so this gave me the impetus to crack on with it. It was frustrating at times as things just don't work the same as they do in Photoshop but I think the result was promising given my limited knowledge of the program. I'm sure with a bit of time and patience I'll get my head around all the little techniques and tricks.  

Unfortunately, my idea for a tagline to go with the logo was rejected. For some reason, nobody was a fan of "Let's Bash It Up Big Style!"

Monday, 5 November 2012

Triumph Rocket Voucher

There isn't really much of a background with this project as the offer was manufacturer-led, so I'll just get straight into the design process.

I had a firm idea from the start of what I hoped this poster would look like. Earlier in the year I had gathered together a nice set of promotional photos of the Rocket so I knew one of these would form the basis of the background.

If you saw more of my work in the showroom you would have noticed a recent trend. I have become fond of the type of layout that has the motorcycle on location at the foot of the page, with a tall skyline that you can comfortably lay your text over without images getting muddled with the text.

Unfortunately, most promotional photos are cropped just above the top of the bike, so I have to do a bit of work on the image to add this in. The first part of this process is to cut out the existing background so you can start with somewhat of a blank canvas (I find this is a better technique than replicating and transforming parts of the existing sky to make it cover a larger area). Most of the time, a simple two-tone gradient will do the job, with white (or a very pale tone) being the preferable colour at the bottom of the page.

Primary Font: American Captain
Secondary Font: Delta Jaeger Light

When it came to the font, I was keen for it to represent the nature of the machine it was advertising. The Rocket has a 2294cc engine, which is the largest displacement engine of any mass-production motorcycle in the world. So no mistake, it's a beast. Therefore, the font had to be big, bold and be able to dominate the page.

As you may have guessed "American Captain" is a replica of the font used for the recent Captain America film. I see this as nothing but a good thing.

Technically, I probably shouldn't have used this font as it doesn't follow the corporate guidelines set out by triumph. To date, there have been no complaints, and I believe the promotion has now finished. (I'll be honest, this slyness/craftiness makes me feel like a prohibition-era gangster. Take that, Eliot Ness!)

Web Banner:

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yamaha YZF-R125 Customised


Quite often, we will choose one of the popular models in the showroom and add some parts and accessories such as exhaust end cans, mirrors, rear sets, indicators etc, to dress it up a bit. The main reason for this isn't actually to sell it as a complete package, but rather to get people's imaginations flowing by providing a visual example of how these aftermarket add-ons can change the look of a bike.

For many bikers, the most interesting aspect of motorcycling is customization. Whether it be a completely bespoke build, or simply adding a few catalogue accessories, recreating a bike to make it original to the owner's individual taste can be very rewarding.

The Poster:

One simple little trick I use all the time is to increase the tracking (space between letters) to give a more polished result. I thought about it for a while but I have to admit I couldn't honestly tell you why doing this has that effect. As you can see on the image above, "YAMAHA" and "LAGUNA SPECIAL" have much greater spacing between each letter than all the other text on the page. Maybe it helps to break the text up a bit for greater clarity. Then again, maybe it just reminds me of expanding movie titles.

Another thing you'll see a lot of in professional print and web design is variation between light, regular, and bold versions of the same font. It maintains consistency of all the text on the page but also offers slight contrasts so that all the text isn't an overwhelming blur of letters and numbers.
The colour choice was quite an easy one as it made sense to follow the paint scheme of the bike. The subtle tone of the gold/bronze wheels certainly adds a bit of class and suggests that this bike is somewhat unique.

The white background was decided upon for three reasons:
1: It costs less to print
2: The picture of the bike was on a white background, so saves me cutting it out. I was on a tight deadline (which actually means I was just being lazy).
3: Importantly though, the poster was going to be A3, not the largest size in such a big showroom, so the text and the parts boxes really did have to stand out from the background.

The shape of the boxes containing each accessory was a conscious decision, based more than anything, on the style of the bike. The contours of the YZF-R125 are very angular and sharp, so it didn't make sense to use rounded corners or even circular shapes for any of the design.

The blue and gold gradients were also based on how the light reflects off the surface of the bike. I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of colour gradients as they are so often misused. In my opinion, they really only work with two shades of the same colour.

Font: Chantilly Medium & Chantilly Light

When I had printed off the poster, one of my colleagues came to me and said "It's nice, but it's a bit simple." Now I'm sure that he expected me to take offense to this, but actually, this couldn't have been a better reaction. Making something look professional and stylish, but keeping it clean and simple, is actually one of the more difficult things graphic designers are faced with. When there is so much information outlined in a brief, deciding the layout can be fairly troublesome. I could litter the page with lots of flourishes and decoration, and yes, it would look pretty, but it would also likely be a distraction to more important content.  When it comes down to it, the purpose of my work is to relay information to customers in the clearest possible fashion, so "simple" really is a good thing.

I explained all that to my colleague with the smuggest expression I could muster, then I hit him with the poster for his ignorance.